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Tampa City Council moves forward on underground chiller for Jeff Vinik’s Channelside project

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The Tampa City Council has given its first approval to an ordinance granting Channelside developer Jeff Vinik a non-exclusive franchise agreement to use public streets, alleys, highways and other public places to begin laying underground pipes to construct a chilled water distribution plant.

The plant would be built underground and used to provide air-conditioning for all of the developments to be built on the 40 acres of land that Vinik’s Strategic Property Partners (SPP) and Cascade Investments will use for their $2 billion development.

After more than a year and a half of anticipation, construction for the project is set to begin next month, and that includes the chiller plant, which is being lauded as an innovative environmental piece of the project.

The proposal is a “great deal for the city of Tampa,” said engineer/activist Joe Jordan-Robinson in comments to the Council.

It’s also different than other franchise agreements the city has other with other private companies in that it this 30-year agreement has escalator rates that could ultimately bring in more revenue for the city.

Taylor Ralph with the U.S. Green Building Council said that the city of Tampa’s Green ordinance clarifies that the city should pursue such sustainability opportunities.

Last September, SPP announced a partnership with the Delos Corp. to have the Channelside development become the first WELL Certified city district in Tampa. Delos is a company that created WELL certification, a performance-based building rating that focuses on human wellness.

Delos and SPP will invest more than $20 million specifically for health and wellness-focused, state-of-the-art technologies and design strategies for the project.

The ordinance passed unanimously under first reading. A second public hearing on the proposal is set for Thursday, August 4.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at

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